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Intune vs. AirWatch



In the MDM (mobile device management) space there is a wide range of solutions. With iOS® and Android devices in just about every business professional’s hands, it is easy to understand why MDM is such a hot market. In this post, we compare Microsoft® Intune® versus VMware® AirWatch®.

A Changing IT Landscape

IT organizations are looking for deeper device management solutions. With a changing IT landscape, end users choose the platforms they like best and IT organizations want to support that because it makes their end users more productive. That broadening of platforms includes macOS® and Linux® systems, and then mobile platforms such as smartphones and tablets.

Managing Devices: Intune versus Airwatch

There is a wide range of device management needs that need to be covered, and every organization is different, so it’s important to take inventory of those needs. Some are focused on how to control iOS and Android devices to protect corporate data. Others require deeper system management capabilities for macOS and Linux machines, which is starting to meld with the MDM category. 

Generally, where Intune and AirWatch shine is where they started their business – in the mobile device management space. They enable activities such as remote wipe, account lockouts, app control, and even container management to separate personal and corporate data. With Intune, because of the tight integration with Microsoft’s cloud platform, Azure®, it can control conditional access to Azure resources—i.e. if a user’s device is compliant, the user can use it to access Microsoft 365™.

Intune has historically been tightly tied to Microsoft, and for those organizations that are focused on Microsoft and Azure technology, Intune can be an excellent choice for MDM. On the other hand, AirWatch has become an MDM market leader through strong MDM and MAM functionality across platforms. It is also vendor-neutral, meaning that it is used more by heterogeneous environments than Intune, but offers similar functionality nonetheless.

Managing Systems

While the Intune versus AirWatch competition is interesting on the MDM side, many IT administrators also need to solve the problem of cross-platform control over users and their Windows®, macOS, and Linux systems. Traditionally, this problem was solved using Active Directory®, although IT organizations of the time (the late 90’s) were almost entirely Windows machines. With the dramatic increase in macOS and Linux systems, AD has struggled to be the core identity and system management platform.

The good news is that a next generation cloud identity management solution gives IT admins full user management control across IT resources and system management for macOS, Linux, and Windows, and employs the MDM protocol to widen the scope of services. This cloud directory service provides a True Single Sign-On™ experience for admins and end users, with a single identity to connect users to all of their vital workday resources. 

As a centralized directory, the solution reimagines Active Directory for modern IT and also integrates device management capabilities. Over time, it is widely believed that many of these disparate categories will merge into access control and device management in one platform. 

User and System Management from the Cloud

There is a cloud directory platform that merges user and device management, called JumpCloud® Directory-as-a-Service®. Directory-as-a-Service provides centralized user and MDM/system management for modern, heterogeneous IT organizations. Admins can use either Intune or Airwatch in tandem with JumpCloud or just JumpCloud, using Directory-as-a-Service as the source of truth, to manage their systems devices and apps as well.

So, regardless of the outcome of your debate of Intune versus Airwatch, JumpCloud Directory-as-a-Service is an excellent choice for serverless IT resource management from the cloud. You can evaluate the product in action by scheduling a free demo or by trying JumpCloud yourself. Your first 10 users and 10 systems in the product are always free, so you can explore configuring them in the best way for your organization before scaling. Contact us to learn more or feel free to access our free premium 24×7 in-app chat functionality within the first 10 days.


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